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Environmental Approach

As a global business operating worldwide, adidas has a responsibility to look after the environment, both for people today and for future generations.

Managing our environmental impacts at our own sites and along the value chain, where our products are designed, created, manufactured, transported and sold, is a key focus of our work.

As part of our Sustainability Strategy  we have set ourselves ambitious targets to optimise our environmental impact along the entire lifecycle of sport. We have developed an approach to address water efficiency, quality and accessibility and are committed to steadily increasing the use of more sustainable materials in our production, products and stores while driving towards closed-loop solutions. We are further committed to reducing our absolute energy consumption and CO2 emissions, transitioning to clean energy and looking into energy harvesting opportunities.


adidas is proactively addressing the impacts of climate change through a number of initiatives in its own operations, its supply chain and through various partnerships.


We have established and maintain a certified Environmental Management System, covering now 14 of our sites globally and are taking the following measures to reduce the environmental footprint of our own operations:

  • Green Company programme: The programme targets improvement of the environmental performance at our own sites around the world, which includes administration offices, own manufacturing sites, distribution centres and retail stores. We also have dedicated budget, the greenENERGY Fund, which helps us accelerate energy and carbon reduction production projects. Please see below for further information.
  • Reporting our carbon emissions: As part of our commitment to transparency, we have been reporting about our carbon emissions and our progress on an annual basis through the Carbon Disclosure Project, an independent not-for-profit organisation, since 2007.
  • Global travel: Air travel is widely used by adidas employees, which is why we monitor and record all air travel managed through our in-house travel agency regularly since 2006 and keep a close eye on the environmental footprint caused. Between 2012 and 2014, we were able to reduce our absolute emissions by around 16%[i]. In addition, a Green Company Initiative, in the form of an additional monetary car bonus amount, encourages our employees and management to use low-carbon vehicles and public transportation.


As most of our carbon emissions come from the manufacturing of our products, we work in close cooperation with our suppliers in various ways to increase energy efficiency in our manufacturing processes.

  • Training suppliers in energy efficiency: In addition to promoting an Environmental Management System (EMS), like we have at our own sites, to make continuous improvements in performance, we help our suppliers to improve environmental conditions, increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. For some examples, please visit our blog.
  • Environmentally friendly manufacturing techniques: Our products have to deliver, but that does not mean they cannot be made in a sustainable way. Our environmentally friendly ideas and technologies include ‘Low Waste’, ‘DryDye’ and sourcing ‘Sustainable Cotton’.
  • Transport: We work with carriers who operate sound Environmental Management Systems in accordance with the ISO 14001 standard and reduce the environmental impact by shipping most of our cargo by sea.


We engage with critical stakeholders and collaborate with partners to improve our industry in various ways, including:

About the UN Climate Neutral Now Initiative


When the UN Climate Change Secretariat asked us to join their Climate Neutral Now Initiative, we did not hesitate. While the ultimate goal is to support a successful outcome towards an international agreement at the upcoming climate conference COP21 in Paris at the end of 2015, the initiative promotes a wider understanding of the need and the opportunities for society to be climate neutral and showcases that many organisations are already acting today.


As a champion of the initiative, we commit to the following:

  • Continue to estimate our emissions.
  • Continue to reduce our emissions.
  • Offset at least part of the remaining unavoidable emissions with UN-certified offsets.

By supporting the initiative, we are delivering a strong message to the industry, our employees and external stakeholders about our continued vision for adidas to become a ‘zero-emission company’. Please click here to read more.


Green Company is the name we gave to our environmental programme at our own sites around the globe. Since its launch in 2008, our Green Company programme and its ambitious 2015 targets have driven continuous improvement in the environmental impacts of our own operations (administration offices, manufacturing sites and distribution centres).

Based on this success, we developed the second generation of our Green Company programme in 2015, including targets to be achieved by 2020. Building on seven years of achievements, the new targets do not only demonstrate our continued focus on industry leadership in environmental stewardship but also take our ambitions one step further. For the very first time our programme covers our own retail stores and includes the phasing out of plastic bags at all retail locations that we own, as well as LEED-certifying our new flagship stores globally. Further highlights of our 2020 targets include the fact that our carbon reduction target is ‘science-based’, meaning it is an absolute, annual emissions reduction designed to deliver carbon neutrality for our own operations globally. As managing water as a vital resource remains a key strategic priority, we have defined individual and ‘context-based’ water reduction targets for our sites taking local watersheds into account.

Green Company Targets 2020


In order to manage and influence environmental impacts at our own sites, we have implemented a global headquarter-based environmental management system that is certified according to the international standard ISO 14001. As of December 2016, fourteen major locations around the globe already have certified systems in place which are linked into the global corporate system. More sites plan to join this system and to become certified within the next years.


Another innovative initiative that helps us to achieve our Green Company targets is the GreenENERGY Fund, which we founded in 2012 to help sites implement their energy and carbon reduction projects. The Fund is a sustainability venture capital fund for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects globally. It is the first of its kind in the footwear and apparel industry, and its mission is to accelerate investment in cost-effective energy and carbon-reduction projects – and make a profit. The GreenENERGY Fund's key innovation is that it finances projects as a portfolio. It targets a 20% Internal Rate of Return (IRR) across the portfolio, but allows IRR flexibility at individual project level. This way, 'low-hanging fruit' projects with great financial returns can be combined with high-impact carbon projects that have a lower IRR. The Fund is designed to maximise carbon reduction and cost savings.

More information about the GreenENERGY Fund can be found on our adidas Blog.


To carefully track the progress of our environmental initiatives and their impacts against our targets, we have established a detailed environmental data recording and reporting system which currently includes 48 sites and covers around 80% of the adidas internal environmental footprint. Every year we publish a special Green Company Performance Analysis that shows our achievements.

adidas has established an Integrated Management System (IMS) Policy as direction for adidas business entities worldwide to manage their operations in a safe, healthy, energy-efficient and environmentally responsible manner. The IMS Policy documents the Health & Safety, Environmental, and Energy Management System of adidas, including all its brands, functions, sites and locations within the scope of management system.